Sunday, January 29, 2012

"Someone Knows My Name"

This was the latest book for my book club and I must say that it is an excellent historical fiction. The story follows the life of Aminata Diallo who was taken from Africa to be a slave in South Carolina. She escapes eventually making it to Canada. After living there an opportunity to return to Africa arrises and she takes it only to find that what she dreamed of as home is no longer a reality. Just as her physical journey makes a full circle, many of the questions she struggled with in the beginning make a full circle as well.
This fascinated me as she struggled with the question of “why do these Africans not help me?” when she was kidnapped. As she gained her independence then returned to Africa seeing others being taken she was powerless to help. Because there was no way she could save one person she had to learn how to live, mentally, with this situation. I just kept thinking that this is true oppression.
I was also struck with the thought that the Africans who had been taken from their homeland then enslaved in America and escaped to Canada had lost their identity. They had no place they belonged. As they tried to assemble their lives together, their hearts cried out “I am an African” but their actions and way they carried out their lives said “I am an American”. Maybe I thought about this because it mirrors the way our family is a bit. I see it in my kids. The longer we are away from America the less we fit in. We have seen too much to settle in a cozy little town again without having been truly affected. The further away from Western culture you are, the longer it takes to adjust once again.
So for what it's worth, this book is a really good read.   

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